As I write this article, the Tokyo Olympics have just ended. I followed the big story, but– Like many Americans -I did not watch as religiously as I used to. Instead, my focus has always been on other issues, such as resuming face-to-face work, which to me means welcoming students back to the university campus where I serve as the dean.

I have also been thinking about my youngest son, who is about to leave home for his first year in college.

Perhaps this is why, when I think back to the headlines of the past two weeks, I want to know what lessons these Olympics can teach him. The following is the information I hope he and other college students will get from the competition:

You are more than just your medals (or your achievements, or your honor). After withdrawing from the women’s gymnastics all-around competition, Simone Byers admits The experience made her realize, “I am more than just my medal…I am a person.” In college, you will have days (or weeks or semesters) unable to meet the standards set for yourself. Maybe you wake up on the morning of the orgo test and suffer from gastrointestinal flu. Maybe you will get strep throat in the week of an important performance. Sometimes unbearable losses or bad breakups can affect your results. Your college experience (such as Byers’ Olympic career) is broader and deeper than your GPA. Believe that you are more than just letters on the transcript.

No one has to win to win. Just ask Mutaz Balhim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tambori of Italy, Who agrees to share the gold medal after every 2.37m in the high jump. There are reasons why the admissions of prestigious schools are labeled as “competitive”. This process, including compulsory exercises (SATs, ACTs), difficulty levels (APs, IBs) and rankings, looks like an Olympic trials. But now that you have proven yourself, the scoreboard has been cleared. In high school, your friends may take many of the same courses, study the same “majors” (that is, enter university), and may pursue the same coveted places in the same dream school. In the university, the bottleneck opened up. Your university students will take hundreds of different courses in dozens of different subjects and thousands of different combinations. There is room for everyone on the podium.

You belong here. These Olympics are full of stories of athletes ignoring difficulties and expectations. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is the fifth of six children born to a tricycle driver in the Philippines. The Philippines had never won a gold medal before she won the 55kg competition. During the confinement, her gym was closed and she had to train with a water bottle on a bamboo pole. Trap shooter Alessandra Perilli (Alessandra Perilli) won the first ever medal for San Marino (San Marino), a country whose population is only 1/10 of Wichita, Kansas. Alana Smith was the pioneer of the two breakthroughs. She was the first non-binary Olympian to get out of the game and a member of the first team to complete the sport (skateboarding). You may be the first person in your family to go to college, or the first person to leave your state or country to go to college. You may not see many people who look like you, identify with you, and love you. You may not enjoy the same privileges and resources as your classmates. But know that you worked hard, completed the training, and passed the qualifying round. You belong here.Find friends, professors and mentors Remind you that every day.

Strange is wonderful. In addition to skateboarding, the Tokyo Olympics also listed surfing, sports climbing and karate as Olympic events. Some events (wrestling, gymnastics, fencing) are evergreen trees, which have appeared in the Olympics since 1896. Others come and go, Such as tug-of-war (!), pistol duel (!!!) and solo synchronized swimming (?!?).Therefore, whether your academic interests tend to be modern (cybersecurity) or classic (um…classic), learn what you like and don’t be afraid to try new things (such as Molly Seidel, she won the bronze medal in her third marathon).When others question your choice, remind them of the three-time gold medalist Sean White Snowboarding started a few years before halfpipe became an Olympic sport. If you wish, a comprehensive university education will prepare you for jobs that do not yet exist.

Not everyone is on the same timeline. Oscar Swan won the silver medal for Sweden at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. He was 72 years old-17 years later than the life expectancy at the time. The 66-year-old equestrian horseman Mary Hanna participated in her sixth Olympic Games this year and hopes to compete again in Paris in three years.The youngest athlete in the Tokyo Olympics is 12-year-old Syrian table tennis player Hende Zaza; she Lost to her 39-year-old opponent In her first game. At my (very traditional) university, about one in eight students graduated out of order. Some graduate early, and some graduate late. Students postpone their enrollment year, or take leave for military service, missionary work, or financial/personal/medical reasons. The university clock allows delayed start and restart. Even Michael Phelps needs a break before the Rio Olympics, where he won 6 more medals. You can wait or press the pause button to make the most of your experience.

The Blessing of Bronze…or B-. For 25 years, researchers have observed that Bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists; Generally speaking, the former group focuses on its achievements, while the latter focuses on possible achievements. As a student with excellent grades, it is easy to fall into this trap and be disappointed with A-. The most valuable grade on my undergraduate transcript is the B- in microeconomics. I failed in the midterm exam and had to cheer for the final. Most college graduates I know have similar stories.So we went back to Simone Biles and she said she would Cherish her bronze medal on Liang more“Better than her four gold medals: This is an uphill battle.

If the Olympics usually signify excellence, an elite team and a tenacious spirit that can teach us humility, tolerance, creativity and freedom, then universities should provide these opportunities. Work hard, but don’t be too harsh on yourself. Open your own path, believing that it will take you where you want to go. Follow your friends and let them follow you.and have fun Along the way.

Sue Lorenson is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Georgetown University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

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